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Charter Review Commission to Mull Possible Changes to Council Make-Up at Public Hearing

The Montgomery County Charter Review Commission will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:00 pm at the Council Office Building in Rockville to get suggestions from County residents about possible amendments to the Montgomery County Charter.

The Charter Review Commission is the body which is charged with reviewing and reporting on possible changes to the Montgomery County Charter. The 11-member panel will hear suggestions from the public at the hearing.

CRC is currently considering include amendments that would alter the number of at-large and district seats on the Montgomery County Council, changing the method of selection for the County’s Redistricting Commission, and providing for the direct election by the voters of the Council President, who would serve a four-year term. Residents can also testify about any other issues concerning the County Charter.

Among the suggestions are possible changes to the changing the make-up of the County Council. Currently, the nine-member Council has five districts representatives and four At-large members. One suggested change the Charter Review Commission is considering is having the County Council be constituted by seven district representatives and two At-large members.

The theoretic change would add two districts and eliminate two At-large seats; presumably, those new districts would be carved out of districts currently in the UpCounty. Currently, District 2 includes all of Germantown, Clarksburg, Damascus, Montgomery Village, Boyds, and Darnestown; District 4 includes Laytonsville, Olney, Colesville, Aspen Hill, and Wheaton; and District 1 runs along the western border of the County, the Potomac River, from the DC line through Bethesda, Potomac, and up to Poolesville, and Dickerson.

Another suggestion is to have the Council president be elected in a County-Wide vote of all County Voters. Another option which has been talked about is the creation of four two-member districts and two at-large members

In 2012, the Charter Review Commission redrew the district lines which gave us the current configuration of the Council District boundaries, previously, the UpCounty District 2 encompassed the entire northern portion of the County from Olney and Brookeville around Gaithersburg to Poolesville in the west. The 2012 change expanded District 1 from Bethesda, Chevy-Chase to Poolesville.

The Charter Review Commission is appointed by the Council every four years. Its meetings are open to the public. No more than six members are from the same political party. The current members are Chair Paul Bessel, Vice Chair Sharon Freeman, Wendy Cohen, A. Lawrence Lauer, Timothy Lighter, Joshua Lipsky, Randy McDonald, Aryeh Shudofsky, Jonelle Williams and Edward Wisneski. More information about the CRC can be found at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/crc/

The CRC public hearing will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. To sign up to speak at the public hearing, residents can call 240-777-7928 or email the Charter Review Commission.

Suggestions and comments also can be submitted to the Charter Review Commission in writing at Charter Review Commission, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Avenue, 4th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850 or via email to the Charter Review Commission.


Top: The current Montgomery County Council District Map which was proposed and approved in 2012.

Next: The Montgomery County Council District Map prior to the 2012 changes proposed by the Charter Review Commission and approved by the County Council.

Maps courtesy Montgomery County.

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